The 68th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils (IYS). The announcement was made on December 5, 2014 and the UNGA declared this day as the first official UN World Soil Day.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has been nominated to implement the IYS 2015, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and in collaboration with Governments and the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
The IYS 2015 aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions.
FAO estimates that a third of all soils are degraded, due to erosion, compaction, soil sealing, salinization, soil organic matter and nutrient depletion, acidification, pollution and other processes caused by unsustainable land management practices.
Unless new approaches are adopted, the global amount of arable and productive land per person will in 2050 be only one-fourth of the level in 1960.
It can take up to 1,000 years to form one centimetre of soil, and with 33 percent of all global soil resources degraded and human pressures increasing, critical limits are being reached that make stewardship an urgent matter .